A Regulatory Flurry: The Year in Regulation, 2013

From: American Action Forum

By Sam Batkins

This year regulators published $112 billion in net regulatory costs, including deregulatory measures. They added 157.9 million paperwork burden hours, according to the daily tally from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). At the beginning of 2013, the American Action Forum predicted $123 billion in regulatory costs, or 8 percent from the actual figure.

From 2009 to 2013, regulators have published $494 billion in final rules. This figure dwarfs the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from countries like Sweden, Peru, and Ireland. With more than $87.6 billion in proposed rule costs this year, burdens will continue to increase in 2014.

Because of a politically motivated regulatory delay in 2012 before Election Day, the White House released several significant measures in 2013. Two big regulations drove costs for the year (Tier 3 emissions standards and efficiency standards for motors), but the overall activity was down compared to other years under President Obama.

Despite publishing 80,224 pages of regulation in the Federal Register, a rise from 2012, this past year did not break records. In 2010, the administration released 100 “major” regulations, the highest ever. This compares to 77 major rules in 2013.

However, without Election Day politics driving policy, overall regulatory activity increased from 2012 levels. Regulators published 2,974 more pages of regulation than in 2012 and OIRA concluded review of 104 “economically significant” regulations, a 25 percent increase over 2012. Finally, OIRA concluded review of 11 final regulations that imposed unfunded mandates on states or private entities, a 38 percent increase compared to last year.

New Costs

Below are the top five proposed and final regulations published in 2013.

Not surprisingly, EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE), and health care rulemakings dominate. EPA’s Tier 3 emissions standard easily led the year and would add $3.4 billion in annual costs, more than 160,000 annual paperwork burden hours, with total costs topping $35 billion. The proposed measure would reduce the sulfur content in gasoline by two thirds. The White House singled-out this regulation for delay in 2012, as staffers disclosed reservations about the cost and the likelihood of higher gas prices. The White House now plans to finalize the Tier 3 standards in February.

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